Oklahoma City Mayor: One-on-one interactions causing COVID cases to spike

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb across Oklahoma, city leaders say it is up to citizens to protect one another.

On Wednesday, data from Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 142,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.

That’s an increase of 2,177 cases, or a 1.6% increase.

There were 19 additional deaths caused by the virus, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 1,470.

Coronavirus rendering

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt says that although cases are rising, the city’s mask ordinance is doing its job to slow the spread of the virus.

However, it seems that many people are not wearing a mask when they are visiting friends and relatives.

“Thanks to the mask mandate, our cases, despite the fact that they’re going up, are not going up as much as cities that don’t have a mask mandate. The state puts out documentation and data that demonstrates that every week; that cities in Oklahoma with a mask mandate have fewer transmissions than those that don’t. But yeah, that doesn’t matter, we’re still going up so much. We have got to get this under control. We have 400 people in the hospital right now here in the Oklahoma City metro with COVID-19. And I just ask people to consider the seriousness of this situation and the prospect of being in the hospital when you make plans for a get-together, plans for a lunch, plans for a house party. Those are really the places where the virus is being transmitted. It’s these one-on-one engagements in close quarters, often indoors and we’ve just got to really refocus this community on the seriousness of this pandemic. I know we’ve had a lot of distractions the last few weeks but it is time to get serious about this, to take your precautions and to accept the fact we’re living in a global pandemic. Yeah, it’s terrible. We all hate it. We wish we could live our lives the way we did back in February, but that’s not an option. And I don’t want anyone hearing my voice right now to get sick or to have to go to a hospital or to die. And you have it within your power to largely stop that reality from coming to pass. So please, take your precautions, wear your mask, keep your distance, wash your hands and make decisions that don’t put you in that situation,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.

Picture taken November 25, 2010 in a Par
Picture taken November 25, 2010 in a Paris restaurant of a hamburger and French fries plate. AFP PHOTO FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

At this point, health officials in Oklahoma say they are having a hard time completing contact tracing due to the amount the virus is spreading in the community.

A recent study suggested that occupancy should be limited for certain businesses like restaurants, bars, and gyms in order to slow the spread of the virus.

“Well yeah, everything’s on the table and we’ll have to see that study. You know, I’m in constant communication with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and we’re always looking for data to demonstrate any particular action that would make a difference. So obviously, we’ve done things like that in the past and that’s something we’ll continue to talk about in this context as well. If everybody would just, it’s not always just about a particular activity. I don’t want somebody to think that they’re unsafe in one certain business but they’re OK if they do the same thing in their house. It’s all about the one-on-one, engaged in close quarters indoors with people outside your household. It doesn’t really matter where that happens, it’s unsafe. And you’ve got to have that little alarm going off in your head every time you’re talking to somebody without a mask who is less than six feet away from you,” Holt said.

Notes to medical personnel hang in an area as nurses prepare to ender a COVID-19 unit at Starr County Memorial Hospital in Rio Grande City, Texas. As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Notes to medical personnel hang in an area as nurses prepare to ender a COVID-19 unit at Starr County Memorial Hospital in Rio Grande City, Texas. As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

In Tulsa, Mayor GT Bynum has called on state leaders to do more to help slow the spread of the virus.

“Just as our health care system is a regional one, our response to fighting COVID-19 must be a regional one too. Tulsans can not fight this on our own. I again implore the state and our neighboring communities to listen to those medical professionals asking for steps to be taken that will slow the spread of this virus. Politically convenient speeches about freedom and personal responsibility are not preventing our ICUs from being maxed out,” Bynum posted on Facebook.

“We’re a little blessed here in Oklahoma City. Our suburbs have largely adopted mask ordinances. He has not had, until this week, a single suburb that had adopted a mask ordinance. So he’s been very frustrated with that, understandably so. The majority of his hospitalizations in Tulsa were coming from suburbs. Here in Oklahoma City, when Oklahoma City adopted a mask ordinance in July, most of the other cities followed suit and that’s still the case. Those that haven’t, obviously, we would certainly encourage them to do so, but it’s a minority of the suburbs here in Oklahoma City. Most of ours have adopted a mask ordinance and I’m very grateful for that and I certainly praise them all for that. He and I have a slightly different situation in mind. It’s more favorable and it’s because of the mayors and councils of our surrounding suburbs taking action and doing the right thing for the health of their residents,” said Holt.

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